Discord's New Fluttershy

by Kaidan

First published

When magic returned to Equestria, it awoke Discord from a long slumber he entered to escape his sorrow and grief. He transforms Hitch into Fluttershy to fill the void in his heart. Can his friends save Hitch before they meet similar fates?

As a timeless immortal being, I never understood death and loss. I was willing to make friends and play nice, I even fell in love. But then one day I lost the pony I loved most, and sought to escape my grief. It went fine for a time, until somepony restored magic to Equestria.

Hitch was having a pretty normal day, until a strange creature appeared on the road and transformed him into a mare. He kept going on about somepony named Fluttershy, before vanishing and imploding a few buildings. Hitch misses the days before he was a national hero in constant peril.

Ch 01 Today's Not Gonna Be My Day

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Blessed silence.

The problem with a nice long rest in a quiet corner of the void, is that it’s never quite as long as you hope it would be. Just the fact that I’m conscious is a bad sign. It means I have a concept of time, of existence, of a world I thought I’d left behind.

The memories trickle back one at a time. A cloven hoof, an antler, a clawed hand. My chosen form in my mind’s eye. The vast black expanse begins to light up as white pinpricks of light wake me from my long slumber of non-existence.

The magic is back.

And with it, came awareness. Sorrow. Grief. Helplessness. For all my powers and immortality, I could do nothing to help them. And then I continued on, as I always have, but filled with more regret and sorrow than I thought possible. Because I’d learned what it meant to have a friend, and then they were taken away. They exist now beyond the veil, in a place even I can’t reach.

Never will we be reunited, but perhaps I could do the next best thing...

Hitch walked down the road followed by a long line of flying rodents who had recently moved into Maretime bay. With the city expanding to fit in new pegasi and unicorn residents, he’d thought it wise to move them out into the underbrush outside of towns. It was no forest, but it was a safer and happier place for them to live.

“Alright, you can move in here. I’ll send my helpers to check on you in case you have trouble getting food.” Hitch gestured to a couple of seagulls and a crab.

Several of the rodents ran over to hug Hitch’s leg before retreating into the bushes. He smiled and turned to the lead seagull, who had taken to wearing a small tuna can as a symbol he was the leader of Hitch’s crew. “You got that? Come check on them every couple days.”

The bird saluted with a wing.

“Thanks, now we better get back to town to make sure Sprout isn’t slacking off on his community service.”

The stallion and his animal helpers began to walk back down the road towards town when they were met with a most unusual sight. He looked at it and was shocked at what he saw. The creature looked like some predator out of a horror movie. It had a mixture of paws, claws, hooves, various sharp teeth, and mismatched wings. The elongated body looked like a cross between a snake and a dragon. Hitch wondered for a moment if this creature counted as an animal and had been attracted to him to seek help, or if this might be one of those long lost races that Argyle claimed used to live in Equestria.

“Well, you’ve got quite the way with animals don’t you?” it stated. “Reminds me of somepony I used to know, actually. However, you’re quite a bit uglier than she was.”

For now he decided a little diplomacy was in order. He was out here alone and it would be best to avoid a fight until he knew what it was capable of.

“Uh, hello there. Can I help you with anything?” Hitch asked.

The draconequus smiled. “Oh you certainly can, how kind to offer. Can you point me in the direction of whatever troublemaker restored Equestria’s magic?”

“Me and my friends did that, though I suppose most of the credit goes to Sunny… but why would you want to see her? You’re not a pony, and you don’t seem to be any animal I’ve ever heard of.”

He slithered off the fence post and curled around Hitch. “Oh, I just want to show her my… gratitude for disturbing my slumber.”

Hitch stood his ground as the strange creature continued to slowly circle him. Something about his appearance and mannerisms was unsettling him, giving him the impression his intentions weren’t noble. “I’m the sheriff of Maretime bay, and I don’t like your tone of voice. I’m going to have to ask you to leave Sunny alone.”

He laughed, “Oh, you’re going to stop me? This is rich, you really don’t remember who I am?”

“Who are you?” Hitch asked.

The being snapped his fingers, and a set of stage lights and a wooden platform complete with microphone appeared in the middle of the road. The creature began to sing. “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a deity of wealth and fa—”

One of the stage lights flickered and exploded, interrupting what was sure to be an exciting musical number full of DMCA-violations.

“Ugh, I can’t get no respect…” The draconequus sighed and shook his head. “I must be a little rusty. Well, then, I’m Discord. The embodiment of Chaos, entropy, randomness, and not a half bad friend if you ask…” He sighed. “Well I guess there’s nopony left to ask.”

Hitch had sat down on the road and was rubbing his temples to stall a headache he felt building. “Okay… well you’re clearly magic, and I’ll help if I can, but I’ve got no idea what you want. At the moment, you’re kinda littering, impeding foot traffic, and making a mess of my town… I don’t suppose you can magic that away please?”

Discord sighed and snapped his fingers, clearing out the road and turning some of the grass purple. “Now you’re reminding me of the annoying cyan one…” He began to stroke his chin as he thought things over. “You say you want to help? Well, I suppose you could be of help. I’ve lost somepony very dear to me, my first and most important friend long ago. Perhaps you can replace them?”

Hitch smiled. “Uh, sure I’ll be your friend.”

Discord smirked, “excellent. Let’s take it slowly so I don’t turn you into a puddle of ectoplasm.” He snapped his fingers.

There was a smell of burnt toast that reminded Hitch of that thing Phyllis had once told him about strokes. His skin felt itchy, and Hitch looked down to see the white spots on his legs and stomach turning yellow. The fur over his whole body was quickly changing to a smoother and more buttery complexion.

As he looked down, a long set of pink bangs spilled down his head, blocking off his vision to one side. “Wait, what are you doing to me?” Hitch asked. His voice had gotten a few octaves higher, and much quieter, than he was used to.

There was a sharp pain between his hind legs causing him to gasp. Hitch didn’t take long to notice something was absent that shouldn’t have been. Before he could complain, a sharp pain shot down his spine causing him to collapse as two wings quickly sprouted out of his back.

Hitch panted and managed to get back to his hooves, noticing his bandolier and sheriff’s badge had fallen off while the spell had worked it’s magic. He turned his head as an unfamiliar muscle flexed, and he saw two golden wings. Behind that was a long pink tail that barely kept from dragging on the ground.

“What the hay?” Hitch whispered. “What did you do to me? Why am I a mare?”

Discord smiled and seemed to stand a little taller. “Guess I’ve still got it, though I was trying to overwrite your personality and memories too. A little more chaos like this and I should get right back into the groove of things!”

“What? No! You need to stop this right now Mister!” Hitch stomped a hoof, or at least he tried to. He tapped the ground so daintily that he couldn’t even be sure it had happened.

A large mirror appeared, courtesy of the lord of chaos, showing Hitch a full reflection of the mare he had become. On his flanks were three pink butterflies, and he’d lost several inches of height.

“No… please, change me back. What even is happening?” He sat down and felt panic brewing as his brain tried to process his sudden transformation.

“We’ll work on your personality, but your name is Fluttershy. You’re my best friend,” Discord explained. “Once I’m feeling a hundred percent I’ll get the cottage set up… maybe there’s a town nearby to turn upside down and warm up with.”

Hitch whispered something, then walked over and tapped Discord on the shoulder. “Hey, I said can you change me back?”

“Oh, you’re still here… right.” Discord cleared his throat. “If you want to get back to what you were before, you must seek out the special four. Bring them back to the place you began, and I’ll turn you into a stallion again.”

“What?” Hitch scratched behind an ear in confusion.

He sighed. “It’s a riddle, run off and solve it while I get some work done. In other words, scram! Get lost! I’ve got to figure out what’s happened while I’m gone and then I can finish your transformation into Fluttershy.”

And with that, the draconequus snapped his fingers and vanished. In the distance, Hitch could see one of the houses on the outskirts of Maretime bay float up into the air and turn upside down, slowly rotating in mid air. A moment later the home imploded, sending out a shockwave of air that hit Hitch a few seconds later.

“Crap, I better go find Sunny and the others and see if they’ve got any ideas. Maybe we can use the gems to give him a friendship concussion or something before he blows up anymore homes.”

Hitch knocked on the door to the lighthouse. It had only finished being rebuilt a week ago, but it looked as good as new. The light was functioning again, the stones were freshly painted, and they had even added a little extra space to the floor plan. Sunny may have lived alone, but with her renewed interest in studying friendship and archaeology, it had seemed prudent to give her some extra space.

A moment later, Sunny opened the door. She took one look at Fluttershy and froze, her eyelids slowly raising as her mouth widened. Her growing surprise manifested in a full volume squee of joy. “Fluttershy! Oh my goodness, I’ve got so many questions.” She turned and ran into the lighthouse. “About four hundred fifty for one of the guardians of friendship!”

“Sunny…” Hitch cleared his throat and tried louder. It was very disconcerting to be in a mare’s body, but the fact his voice was so adorably soft was already wearing thinner than his other changes. “Sunny!”

She rushed back to the door and set her journal down. “Is it true you can talk to animals? Who was your favorite friend and why was it Twilight? Did you really have a bunny that started a war?”

“Sunny!” By now, with several shouts to warm up, Hitch was able to get her attention.

“Huh?” She looked up from her journal.

“It’s me, Hitch!” he explained.

Sunny tilted her head. “What?” She smiled. “I have a friend named Hitch. But you’re Fluttershy, I own tons of stuff based on you. I have a couple carved dolls, a pillow case, a blanket with those three pink butterflies… You must have time traveled here. Is there a robotic unicorn from the future on it’s way to kill me and you have to ensure my survival so that the resistance can save all of Equestria in the future?”

Hitch let out a long groan and shook his head. “Now you’re just telling me the plot to Judgement Neigh. Plus your friendship heroes are from the past, not the future.”

“Okay then. What happened to you?” She raised her hooves to do air quotes. “Hitch.”

“I ran into this half goat half pony half dragon half bear half pig… actually, the details aren’t important! He was complaining about magic being restored, then he snapped his fingers and did this!” Hitch raised and lowered a hoof in front of his now female pegasus body.

She giggled, “that’s quite a story. Did Izzy send you? Or maybe this is a costume and makeup, something for one of Pipp’s klip klop videos? I guess she must have found a decent look-alike in Zephyr Heights.”

Hitch sighed in exasperation, before a thought occurred to him. He stuck a hoof out in the air. Sunny looked at it in confusion, until he shook it a couple times. “Come on, I’m not on duty.”

Sunny reached out to touch the hoof, and the two began to chant in unison. “Up high, down low, hitch it to a post. Flip it sunny side up and on a piece of toast!”

It took her a moment, but it finally seemed to click. “Hitch? It’s really you?”

“Yes!” he whispered at full volume. “Do you have your cell phone? We need to get Izzy, Zipp, and Pipp here and the gems… we’ve got to do a friendship explosion or something before that crazy thing gets back.”

She nodded. “Yeah, I guess you better come in. Just, wow. You make a pretty cute pegasus” Sunny bumped him on the shoulder.

He frowned and shot her a pouty look, “come on don’t joke like that.”

Ch 02 Well This Just Got Interesting

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I first noticed the change in Fluttershy when Dash passed away.

The mare had been beloved by her friends, even if she had a grating and abrasive personality I’d never quite gotten past. Right up until she got married, at least, and gained the good sense not to pass such personality quirks down to her descendents.

But, legacy of a famous wonderbolt aside, I’m here to reminisce about Fluttershy.

We’d built a life together over time, a fairly odd couple, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I knew that it would be hard for her to outlive her friends, losing them one at a time. Perhaps that was why I’d worked my magic so subtly to prolong her life at first. Would she hold it against me if she knew I was afraid of losing her? Or would she see it as the gift it was, the longevity of a princess to buy her that many more days with me, her lover. She’d have friends too, the important ones anyway: Spike, Twilight, Cadence, Flurry, Celestia, Luna. It wasn’t like she’d have to watch them die anytime soon.

Dash though... I hadn’t expected it to hit her so hard. While the mare’s children and grandchildren tried to do what Dash would have done and been stoic, Fluttershy had spent the better part of a week crying and sick in bed.

Perhaps it is because I can not die that I found it so hard to relate. If she’d wanted to see Celestia tumble down a staircase full of marbles, or Twilight’s head rotate like an owl until she threw up her split pea soup, I could have obliged easily.

But how does one who has never known the pain of loss comfort one who has? My knowledge of death begins and ends with the fact that I will never be capable of dying, or truly understanding it. It’d be like asking a fish what it was like to breathe air. Still I tried my best to learn.

I knew what other ponies would have said to someone who lost a dear friend, so I said those things. Perhaps they came across as empty words and she was too kind to say so, or maybe she understood I was helping in the only way I could. It deflated my ego a few sizes to realize I could bend the fabric of reality, but not fix the sadness she felt.

Dwelling on it won’t get me anywhere right now. What matters is that I was there for her. Even if I’d acted sooner when I saw the change, it wouldn’t have mattered. I could never say no to her, and the longer I knew her, the more I wrapped myself around her hoof.

I had gone from trickster to friend to lover, and that was when I made the first of my many follies as a ‘reformed’ deity. I assumed Fluttershy was incapable of doing something that could hurt me.

Sunny had invited Hitch in to use her guest room and spend the night while they waited for Zipp, Pipp, and Izzy to arrive. Thanks to things like cell phones, roads, and the ability to fly, they should all be able to get over by afternoon the next day.

Which left Hitch in the awkward position of needing to clean up and get ready for bed. As a mare. In his best friend’s home. He didn’t know where to begin to care for a mane this long, and he’d heard it could take over half an hour to dry when mares showered.

He could have gone home to sleep, or even just to grab things like a toothbrush, but the strange creature was still out there. A part of him worried he could be harming ponies, but the more rational part of him knew that even if he was, there was nothing he could do to stop him. The smart thing to do would be to wait for backup. If he rushed back to town to do his duty now, he’d be adding one more pony for the others to rescue in the morning.

Luckily, Sunny had been expecting guests given her new friends and popularity, and had set up some basics in the bathroom for Hitch. It was a shared bathroom, next to Sunny’s bedroom. The brushes were easy to spot, along with a plethora of hair-related products. The decor was a bit of a mixed bag, including a yellow towel with pink butterflies that matched Hitch’s own flank now. Still, it made him smile to know Sunny had held onto so much memorabilia from her youth.

It didn’t take too long to run a brush through his mane. It was actually quite pleasant, and Hitch wondered why he never noticed this before. Brushing a short mane didn’t take more than a minute or two, and it didn’t really feel good either. Aside from the occasional knot in the long mane and tail, it was mostly a soothing experience.

Next he just had to find the toothpaste. Hitch started to pull out each drawer beneath the sink, a part of him wondering why a mare needed so many drawers full of brushes, pads, curling irons, and more.

One of the drawers hit a snag, and fell right onto the floor. There was a loud angry buzzing noise, and the wooden container began to crawl across the floor. Hitch picked up the drawer and his eyes went wide in shock.

There was something large, black, and shaped like Dahlia’s blue ribbon winning cucumber plant from last year’s Farmer’s Market skittering its way across the floor.

And it was heading right for Hitch’s hoof.

He yelped a faint feminine squeal as both wings flapped and carried him up onto the edge of the bathtub. Hitch perched there for a moment, until he tried to think about the fact he was using his wings. Both of them snapped shut, a hoof slipped, and he found himself on his back in the bottom of the tub.

“Sunny!” He cried out for help. The fiendish device bumped up against the porcelain of the toilet, which seemed to amplify it to the volume of a large horde of very angry bees. “Sunny!”

There was no reply, perhaps she was downstairs and couldn’t hear his pleas for aid.

Hitch sighed. “I can do this. I graduated top of my class in Sheriff’s academy.” He righted himself and pulled his head up over the edge of the tub to look at the battery operated coltfriend. “Though, to be fair there were only two people in the class.”

He reached out with a hoof and started jabbing at it until he finally found the switch and turned it off. Hitch looked at his hoof in disgust, and then the drawer he had knocked out.

“Okay, just gotta put it back in the drawer, hope I don’t die of embarrassment, then wash my hooves.”

Hitch climbed out of the tub and used a hoof towel to toss the contents of the drawer back into it, before fidgeting to get it to slide back into place. Once it was done, he could finally take a few deep breaths and calm down.

“Now I just need lots of soap.” He turned on the hot water and pressed down on the soap dispenser.

It was empty.

Zipp and Pipp had arrived first, and in quite a good mood. They had really enjoyed their flight to Maretime bay, only having to leave this morning to make it in half a day. Izzy had arrived shortly after. Her walk to town had taken a bit longer and she’d had to get up very early.

Now that we had cleared a table and brought everypony up to speed on yesterday’s events, it was time to figure out a solution.

“So, you’ve been a pegasus for almost a full day now and you haven’t gone out for a quick flight?” Zipp asked incredulously.

“Um, I’ve had a few other things on my mind.” Hitch pouted. “Like getting the crazy dragon-thing to turn me back to myself.”

“Yeah, but come on, there are some things you can only do as a pegasus.” Zipp smirked and glanced over to Hitch. “Or as a mare…”

“Zipp!” Pipp barked and rubbed her forehead. “Really, the last thing I need is to think about one of my friends doing that.”

That got a chuckle from most of the table, however Hitch just stared back at Zipp nervously, then Sunny.

“So what about the riddle?” Izzy asked. “This Discord guy sounded like he wanted you to play a game to get back to normal and if there’s one thing I know, it’s games.”

Sunny opened her journal to read the riddle she had written down when Hitch had shared it. “If you want to get back to what you were before, you must seek out the special four. Bring them back to the place you began, and I’ll turn you into a stallion again.”

“Well there’s four of us, and restoring magic to Equestria was pretty special,” Zipp observed.

“And this all began down the road from the lighthouse, right?” Pipp asked.

“Yeah.” Hitch snatched up some of the wheat snacks on the table and began to eat them.

“Oh,” Izzy sighed. “Kinda an easy riddle, I was really hoping for another adventure. All we’ve gotta do then is take him down the road, and poof! Back to normal. Do you think he’ll want to play another game? Or maybe teach me a few spells?”

Sunny shrugged. “I don’t think any of us really know what we’re dealing with. I’m also not sure trying to ‘activate’ the gems again will do anything, since the real magic was inside us all along… but I think we need to keep our options open.”

“And do you know anything about this Discord, Sunny?” Zipp asked. “We’ll need a backup plan in case our theory about this riddle being the solution falls through.”

“Well, the guardians of friendship defeated most of their villains by becoming their friends. Dad never really went into too much detail on them. Discord was supposed to be a prankster and trickster, he probably got along great with Dash. I’m not sure why he was so attached to Fluttershy though.”

“Yeah,” Hitch said. “He was kinda fixated on her, and how he needed a friend.”

“So, if he needs friends then let’s offer him some.” Zipp gestured around the room. “Plan A is to solve the riddle, plan B is to convince him he doesn’t need to use his tricks and illusions to force us to be his friend.”

Everypony nodded in agreement.

“Okay, let’s head out and see what happens.” Sunny got up from the table and made sure the three gems were in her saddlebag. “We’ll call the gems plan C.”

As they all headed out the door, Zipp hung back and stepped up beside Hitch. “You know, Sheriff, you make a cute mare.”

Hitch blushed and opened his mouth a few times before he found the words. “You’re messing with me, right?”

She smirked again. “Well, if I told you, it wouldn’t be messing with you would it?” Zipp let him blush for a moment before adding. “Don’t worry, Sheriff. Even magic has to obey the laws of physics, I’ll figure out how he transformed you one way or another.”

The hilltop was empty when everypony arrived. Only the bandolier and Sheriff’s badge from yesterday remained on the ground where Hitch had left it. There was also some wooden debris and purple grass.

Izzy picked up the badge and brushed it off, handing it back to Hitch. He put it on, and pulled his pink mane out from under it. “Thanks, Izzy.”

Sunny took a deep breath, and called out to nopony in particular. “Okay, Discord! We’re the new guardians of friendship, and we’ve solved your riddle! We want our friend back!”

The breeze picked up, but nopony appeared after Sunny had issued her little challenge. They looked around for a bit, and she was going to call out again, when they heard a voice.

“Missing somepony? Or did they cut the budget, and were only able to afford five of you?” Discord asked.

They all turned around to find a long serpent-like being in a leather recliner, wearing sunglasses and eating popcorn. He wiggled his toes on one foot as he stretched.

“Discord,” Hitch said. “We’ve solved your riddle, I’ve brought the four of them back here to where it started. So turn me back.”

“Riddle? I just said that to get rid of you while I worked out a few kinks in my magic. I’m in total control now, see?” He snapped his fingers and a pink cloud appeared. It began to rain down chocolate milk on the ponies.

Zipp shot him an unamused look as she stepped out from under the cloud. “That doesn’t look under control.”

“Dash’s understudy, I see. Everypony’s a critic.”

Sunny stepped forward and faced the draconequus. “Discord, I don’t know much about you, but from the stories I’ve heard you were a villain and a trickster, but you kept to your word when you played that game with the guardians of friendship.”

“Reformed villain, thank you very much.” Discord snapped his fingers to make his halo appear over his horned head. “And I’d prefer if you didn't retcon my origin story right in front of me. Equestria would have fallen a dozen times if not for my intervention. Well, to be perfectly honest I also instigated a quarter of those… but still. Show a little respect for your elders.”

“So you don’t intend to keep your word?” Sunny asked.

He groaned. “Like I said, I was just trying to get rid of Fluttershy until I could overwrite her personality, which reminds me.” He snapped his fingers again and nothing happened.

“Oh, my…” Hitch couldn’t explain it, but he felt sorry for Discord. He walked about halfway over to give him a hug before stopping. “Wait. What’d you do?”

Discord snapped his fingers a few more times. “Well shoot, I guess I did run that risk when I chose to cease existing.” He caused his chair to vanish and stood up. “I was just trying to finish Fluttershy’s transformation.”

He’d barely finished the sentence when an angry Zipp zoomed past where Discord’s head had been. She turned around to go in for another pass when she hit a large spider web that hadn’t been there a second ago.

“Feisty, we might get along after all.”

“You turn him back!” Zipp shouted.

“Why should I?”

“You can’t just replace your old friends, but you can make new ones.” Sunny walked up next to him and looked up. “What happened to you that you’re going to these lengths to get Fluttershy back anyway?”

Discord looked down at her and for the first time in this conversation, he had nothing to say and no magic to weave.

After a moment of silence, Izzy came up and hugged him. “You lost her, didn’t you?”

Sunny joined in on the hug. Pipp was busy keeping a cautious distance while trying to sneakily record everything on her phone. Hitch joined in last. Zipp was doing a good impersonation of a fly and tangling herself up in the web.

“Ugh. I forgot how insufferable hugs were,” Discord whined.

“Twilight, Rarity, Dash, Pinkie, and Applejack were your friends… but Fluttershy was something more, wasn’t she?” Sunny asked.

“She was everything to me. I’d do anything to have her back, and I’m afraid that’s why your colt friend is out of luck.” Discord vanished in a puff of smoke, taking the web tangling up Zipp with him. He reappeared a moment later lying across the road.

“But we can be your new friends, and we can prove it.” Izzy smiled and walked up to him. “Plus you like games, so how about we play for it?”

“Izzy, this isn’t a game of Just Prance, this is Hitch we’re talking about,” Sunny argued.

“Um, it’s okay with me,” Hitch said softly. He shook his head, hearing that voice again that was too soft and kind to be his own. This whole situation was upsetting, and now Hitch was hearing a voice in his head, soft and kind, suggesting how he should act. He hoped it’d be easy enough to keep ignoring, but it wasn’t helped by the fact that he was feeling sorry for Discord. The worst part is he couldn’t tell if it was him feeling it, or Discord’s magic.

“What did you have in mind then?” Discord asked.

“Spend a day with each of us, and get to know us. We’ll prove we each want to be your friends.” Izzy looked over to Hitch. “Then you can have five new friends, instead of forcing one pony to pretend to be a friend with your magic.”

Discord thought it over for a minute. He held all the cards in this game, he would only need to lie and say one of them had failed to befriend him if he wanted to win the game. Usually he tried to make his games have a little more semblance of fairness.

“Okay, I’ll play your game. One day each, not counting Fluttershy there who is already my friend. If you four can prove the,” Discord made air quotes with his hands “‘magic of friendship’ on me, I’ll turn him back.”

“I’m not sure I like those odds,” Sunny observed.

“Doesn’t seem like we’re going to get better odds though,” Zipp whispered to her. “Izzy might have at least bought us a shot. Even with his powers seeming not to work correctly, I don’t see how we could take him out.”

“Well I’ll do anything to get back to normal,” Hitch added. “This is getting more and more unsettling.”

“What do you think, Pipp?” Sunny asked.

“I think this is the breaking news story of the century! Oh, and I’m in!” She replied.

“Great!” Izzy reached out and shook Discord's hand. “Oh, I almost forgot, no more using your magic on Hitch to change him.”

“Aye.” Discord, suddenly fully outfitted in weathered pirate’s gear with an eyepatch, hat, and peg leg, responded. “We have an accord. Shall we start with this here pirate lass?” He gestured to Sunny.

Izzy looked at Sunny and broke out laughing. She was sporting a wide black hat and an eyepatch. The rest of her outfit looked like something out of an adult novelty store that a promiscuous mare might wear to celebrate Halloween.

Before Sunny could process the outfit and complain, the pirate props vanished in a puff of smoke.

“You’ve heard it here first!” Pipp said into the phone, drawing Discords attention to the small device. He’d never seen anything like it, appearing over her shoulder to look down at the small screen. “We’re going to be playing a game to determine the very fate of Equestria with one of the most notorious frenemies of the guardians of friendship!”

Sunny facehoofed. “Pipp, you’re going to panic everypony phrasing it like that.”

“Fine.” She hit a button on the phone. “The fate of a very fabulous looking and beautiful mare, formerly the stallion and Sheriff of Maretime bay, Hitch!”

Hitch sighed. “Great now everypony knows, I’ll never hear the end of this will I?”

Sunny gave him a gentle hug. “I’m certain you’ll hear the end of it, as long as nopony finds out about a certain something under my bathroom sink that I found moved earlier today.”

“Kill me now,” Hitch uttered.

Ch 03 It's Always Sunny in Maretime Bay

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Everything that lives, dies.

A wise alicorn once taught me this, and taught it to his daughters. Of course, there do seem to be a few exceptions to the rule. For instance, under the right circumstances I can stop existing for a while. But I’m not really dead, as long as elemental forces like magic exist, harmony and chaos will exist. Perhaps if I ever meet harmony I can see if they find this universe to be as trying as I do.

Cadence lived, and died, just like the others. Honestly I thought she’d have had another thousand years in her at least, but love makes fools of us all.

She sacrificed herself to save Flurry from one of those pesky villains that never seemed to stay dead. If I’d have been there, I’d likely have snapped my fingers and ended Sombra’s existence without a second thought. Not because I’m reformed, but because he was an insufferable idiot who threw away his true love and his kingdom over foolish pursuits. And he got less likable as he brooded about it over the millenia.

But I wasn’t there. Long after Princess Twilight had thought Equestria well and truly safe, up pops some idiot who manages to resurrect Sombra. Probably from a bit of the horn swinging between his legs. Cults can never just perform a normal ritual.

Anyway, Cadence sacrificed herself to save Flurry. I’d say it was worth it though, even if I can’t understand why one would choose to die when they could choose to live. Her daughter Flurry lived longer than any other alicorn due to being the youngest. I suppose it also helped that Fluttershy asked me to look over Flurry.

With Applejack, Dash, Rarity, and Pinkie gone, Fluttershy was running low on friends from “the old days”. So whenever she got even the slightest inclination that one of her remaining friends was in trouble, she would send me to fix it. The Crystal Empire never had a villain attack it again.

I think Fluttershy knows what I did, and that’s why she’s been encouraging me to be more active in protecting others. What I did to her is obvious now. She’s no alicorn, but she’s outlived her friends and their children. I’ve aged her appearance some, but the fact she’s going to be attending the funerals of Applejack’s grand-children soon is sort of a dead give away.

We don’t talk about it though. I started to isolate myself a little. We used to share everything with each other, but I stopped. I knew she would be upset that I was keeping her alive and not everypony else. Perhaps that was a mistake.

And I wanted her to love who she thought I was, and not who I felt myself becoming as I ran from the mistakes of my past. I couldn’t stand to see the look of disappointment, or worse, horror in her eyes, when she learned my plan to keep her alive for eternity with me. When she learned that such an expenditure of my magic, against the very nature of entropy, necessitated that only her and nopony else could have this gift.

So I dug myself deeper with lies every day, trying to avoid the conversation I knew we had to have. Fluttershy was lonely, she was losing all her friends. Ultimately I was hurting the only pony brave enough to love me.

I wish I didn’t do that. I wish I was brave enough to tell her the truth, to love her back as fully as she loved me.

I wish I had tried. You don’t have as much time as you think you do.

After all... Everything that lives, dies.

As part of their agreement with Discord, everypony had gone back home to prepare for their upcoming day they would be spending with him. He had assured them that with the snap of a finger he’d be able to teleport to each of them in turn. Discord was fairly certain he could also bring Fluttershy along with at least ninety percent certainty. He didn’t want to leave her, or Hitch as her friends kept calling her, unattended with the transformation only half completed.

Sunny opened up the front door to her home to let Hitch in. Standing on the other side of the door in a kitchen apron and holding a duster was Discord.

“Su casa es mi casa” Discord bowed and waved them in.

“Just be careful, please. My house just finished being rebuilt, and my insurance policy was very clear about not covering acts of gods,” Sunny explained.

“Oh.” Discord crossed his fingers behind his back. “I’ll be on my best behavior. As for you, my dear Fluttershy, you better stay close. I’d hate for something to happen to you. Maybe you can take a nap while I get to know Sunny here?”

Hitch glared at him with an irritated look. “Maybe I’ll keep an eye on you.”

Discord rolled his eyes. “Oh you’re so cute when you’re upset, like the time I turned Angel bunny into a carrot.”

“You turned Fluttershy’s pet into a carrot?” Sunny asked. “Why would you do that?”

“Trust me, there would have been a line to get rid of Angel, but nopony could turn him into a carrot, but if they could, and they can’t, they would have.” Discord shrugged. “But that’s neither here nor there, I turned him back eventually. Now, come give me a little sugar.” He batted his eyelashes and blew Fluttershy a kiss.

Hitch gagged and ignored the little voice in his head suggesting a quick peck on the cheek was in order. “I uh, I think I will take that nap, if you can handle him Sunny.”

She smiled. “I’m sure we’ll be fine. I’ll let you know when I’m making dinner.”

While Hitch headed up stairs, Discord wandered over to a small dresser near the door. There was a pair of broken glasses, a medallion with Twilight’s cutie mark, and a broken picture frame that had been nailed back together.

Sunny walked over to join him. “That was my dad, Argyle. I lost him to a sudden illness when I was younger.”

He nodded. “You’re no stranger to loss then, yet you managed to restore magic to all of Equestria?”

She nodded, pulling out a set of gems and setting them on the wooden furniture. “Yeah. For the longest time nopony would believe my father or I. We told them ponies used to live in harmony, and it led me on an adventure to unite these gems and restore friendship.”

Discord tapped one of the crystals. “You know there’s nothing magical about these? They’re just glorified paper weights.”

“Yeah. It turned out the magic of friendship was in us all along. All we had to do was choose to let friendship into our hearts.” Sunny slid the three gems together until they matched the picture she’d seen in the mural. “I guess the gems were just a catalyst to get ponies to work together.”

Laughter filled the room and Discord smirked. “That is so like Twilight. Her contingency plan was to believe that ponies are inherently good, and would seek friendship with or without magic.”

“Though, if they’re just paper weights, how did they briefly turn me into a pony with wings and a unicorn horn at the same time?” Sunny asked.

He thought about it for a moment. “Hmm, they turned you into an Alicorn? Well they’re inert now, but by the sound of it, perhaps they did contain a spell at one point. I wasn’t there when they were created.”

“Dad would have been so proud if he’d seen me that night. He spent his life studying ancient Equestria, trying to find a way to bring magic back.” Sunny sighed. “We never did figure out why magic vanished in the first place. You were there, what happened?”

The air temperature seemed to drop a few degrees and Discord glared at her. “That’s not a memory I want to share with somepony who barely understands loss.”

She offered an apologetic smile. “Oh, that’s okay. I didn’t mean to upset you with a painful memory.”

Discord took a deep breath. “Painful? Stubbing a hoof is painful, falling down stairs is painful… no, I’m not good at explaining emotions, but perhaps I can show you.”

He snapped his fingers and Argyle appeared in a flash of light behind her. “Hey, Sunny Bunny.”

She spun around and gasped. “D-dad?” Sunny reached out to hug him, but the illusion faded in an instant.

“I can’t bring back the dead, it is beyond my power. But the pain of the loss never really fades, does it? You can relive it anytime in your memories.” He used his magic to read Sunny’s thoughts, weaving magic to bring one of her memories to life.

This time it was Argyle in a hospital bed. There were machines hooked up to him, but the screens were turned off and he was lying still in bed.

Sunny remembered this moment vividly, when her father had died. She’d only left briefly to get food, and barely made it back in time to say goodbye when his condition worsened.

“Stop this…” She shot a hoof out to disrupt the illusion, watching the image fade away.

“Your optimism is admirable, but admit it, life is nothing but despair.” Discord pressed a finger to Sunny’s head, and her fur began to turn gray. From the roots of her mane to the tips, the grayness spread, slowly draining her optimism and transforming her into the opposite of herself.

He shrugged and snapped his fingers, teleporting a smoothie from the fridge to sip on. “Really, that was too easy.”

Sunny’s eyes had glazed over as she gave into her sorrow, until she heard Argyle’s voice as clearly as if he was standing there beside her. “Don’t be like the others, choose love over fear. Never forget how proud I am of you. I love you, Sunny bunny.”

Discord raised an eyebrow as the change halted just above Sunny’s knees, then reversed, restoring her color and happiness to her.

Sunny blinked and her smile turned into an angry scowl. “We said no using your magic on us!”

He shrugged, snapping a scroll into existence. “You said no using my magic to change Hitch, see? The wording was very clear.” Discord tapped the scroll with a finger, and it vanished.
“Seriously? If you’re going to cheat, then give me one reason to keep playing this game.”

He shrugged. “If you quit then I win by default. I take Fluttershy and leave.”

Sunny glared at him for a minute. She didn’t like his cheap tricks, but she’d do anything to help Hitch. “Fine. At least I know now your magic doesn’t work on me.”

“Actually, nopony has ever resisted that spell before. Usually they need outside help. I’m honestly quite impressed. How can you suffer such loss and still be so saccharine?”

She thought back to her father. “It’s not about losing him, it’s about appreciating the time I had to spend with him. How much Dad taught me, how he always believed in me, that I would be a better pony than him. I know deep down his belief in me is what made me into a pony able to restore magic to Equestria.”

Discord rubbed his chin for a moment, thinking it over. “Sounds a bit like a young mare novel plotline, but I suppose you have a point.”

“Thanks, I think. So this pony you lost was it… Fluttershy?” Sunny asked.

He sighed, and nodded slightly. “Yes. Though if you’re trying to convince me to be your friend, sending me into an existential crisis is unlikely to do so. I’d rather not talk about the past right now.”

Sunny went over and gave him a hug. “That’s fine. I’ll be here if you ever do want to talk about it. Friends?”

“You have my respect, but we’re not friends yet,” Discord stated. “Now, I think I heard mention of Dinner?”

She released the hug. “Yeah, got any favorite dishes?”

“It’s a bit plain, but mac and cheese was always one of our favorites,” Discord replied.

“Mac and cheese it is, and it won’t take long to make. Until then, why don’t we watch a movie? I’ve got a copy of The Neightrix where an Earth pony wakes up in a world overrun by Unicorn robots.”

Sunny went over and turned the TV on, gaining Discord’s full attention. “This technology isn’t like anything I’ve seen before. What is it?”

“Hmm, something to do with cathode ray tubes. You’d probably be better off asking Zipp.”

Discord sat on the couch and summoned himself a plushie Rainbow Dash to rest his legs on. “Alright then, let’s see if this movie is any good.”

Taking a nap was hard when everything just felt so wrong. He was too curvy in some areas and too thin in others. The long pink mane seemed to tangle at the slightest attempt to roll over in the bed. He didn’t want to dwell too long on the fact that it felt kind of nice, either. With the smaller body it was easy to curl up and get comfortable, and the wings had stopped itching every time he thought about them.

Hitch stretched in the guest bed and heard something tapping on the windows. He got up, and fell right onto his stomach. His legs were several inches shorter than he was used to, but at least he hadn’t badly hurt himself.

At the window were two seagulls, hitting the glass hard enough he worried they might break it. “Hold on a minute.” He flapped his wings to fly over to the window, and opened it up while he hovered there. “Huh, these wings aren’t half bad.”

His two junior deputies, the seagulls Scruffy and Plucky, stepped into the room.

“Thank goodness,” Scruffy said.

“Fine I owe you two sardines,” Plucky replied. He adjusted the tin can on his head he wore as a symbol of his authority. He was in charge of the critter brigade, after all.

“Oh, I’m fine thanks,” Hitch replied. “I just ran into this—wait, you can talk?!” He rubbed his eyes and looked at them again to see if they were really there.

“Wait, you can understand us now?” Scruffy asked. “I guess ponies aren’t as dense as they look.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Hitch asked.

“Well,” Plucky reached out a wing and began to count off. “There was the time we tried to warn you Dahlia’s lasagna caught fire. The time we tried to warn you Sunny had snuck in the side door to Canterlogic—”

“Wait, how’d you know it was me?”

“Oh,” Scruffy answered, “so Crabby catches up with us down by the pier and he’s ranting and raving about how this dragon thing is running around turning ponies into all sorts of chaotic stuff. He tells us that you’ve been turned into this pink and yellow mare.”

Hitch nodded. “Yeah, that happened. So why were you so insistent on getting through the window?”

“Right!” Plucky responded. “We’re here to warn you, Sheriff! There’s a dragon running around snapping his fingers and messing with ponies.”

He sighed and sat down, hiding his face behind his pink mane. “Your warning’s like a day late.”

After a moment of silence, Plucky spoke up. “So, this is probably bad timing, but I could use a month off work to migrate and visit my family…”

Ch 04 Friendship is Bedazzled.

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As far as retirement plans went, Celestia and Luna had a pretty good one. They’d entrusted ruling the kingdom to Twilight, and taken off to enjoy themselves for hundreds of years.

But an alicorn is still a pony, and eventually they both passed away. Celestia had aged a thousand years while Luna was on the moon, and knew her time was coming.

Luna gathered Twilight, Spike, and Flurry to the castle when she returned with Celestia. The Princess of the Sun held on until she was home and could say her goodbyes. Then old age claimed her.

Once Celestia died, Luna performed the ritual to pass her power over the sun to Twilight. I suppose you could call Celestia a different class of alicorn, and a power like controlling the sun was too important to just let fade into oblivion.

What nopony had expected was what Luna did next. After a farewell speech of her own, her horn lit up and she transferred her power to Flurry. She laid down and embraced her sister, and through what I assume is sheer force of will, chose to pass through the veil that very instant alongside Celestia.

I suppose it is a bit poetic. They came into life together, and left together.

Twilight and Flurry weren’t as nonchalant about it. I had to calm them both down by teleporting Fluttershy there. In a way, I think this repaired my relationship with Fluttershy a little bit. The three of them sat there hugging, dealing with loss. I mostly sat with them, after all I didn’t yet understand loss. It was a concept to me, one I could describe in detail, but hadn’t felt. It made for an odd scene, the five of us sitting there. Honestly it was a bit boring, but I had gotten good at not causing chaos at the wrong moments. Mourning the loss of a loved one was rarely the right moment.

Fluttershy and I returned to the cottage and things continued as if nothing was out of the ordinary for a little longer. I think she thought I finally understood grief and loss, she must have assumed that Celestia and Luna were close to me. Perhaps, thinking this had strengthened my resolve, she finally asked me the question that must have been on her mind for decades.

“Thanks for everything, Sunny, you’re not half bad you know. Well, the half of you that reminds me of Twilight I could do without, but the Pinkie half? Pure awesome,” Discord explained.

“Are you sure you don’t have enough time to answer a few more questions about the... what did you call them?” Sunny asked.

“Mane six, it’s quite a clever pun actually.”

She chuckled. “Were their titles really that long that you had to give them a nickname?”

“Oh, I definitely don’t want to use the full titles. Twilight Sparkle, First of her Name, Hatcher of Dragons, Redeemer of Nightmare Moon, Breaker of Chaos, Slayer of Sombra, Crusher of Changelings, The Last Spellbender, High School Best Friend Forever of Sunset, Annihilator of Tirek, Neglector of Cozy Glow, Queen of the Equestrians and the first-yaks, and heir to the Celestial throne gets old after a while.”

Sunny was madly scribbling down all these titles into her journal, unaware that he was messing with her. “Wow! There must be so many stories Dad never knew of. Can’t you stay and answer a few more questions? There’s so much we don’t know.”

He looked at the watch on his wrist. “Nope only got about fifteen more seconds before I have to be at Izzy’s.”

“But you never gave Izzy a time you’d be arriving, what’s the rush?” Sunny asked.

He huffed and in a snap had a long gray robe, wizard’s hat, and white beard. “A draconequus arrives exactly when he intends to, and not a moment sooner or later.”

And with a second cracking sound he was gone.

Alphabittle was walking down the road to check on Izzy, who had told him that she was having a very special guest visiting today. She’d been tight-lipped on the details, but he figured if it was important enough for Izzy to be so excited, it was probably a special somepony. If anypony was going to date Izzy, it was Alphabittle’s duty as the town leader to ensure said pony knew about exactly how many places he could hide a body.

As he was about to knock on the door, a sudden torrent of water landed on him, blinding him momentarily. He heard a loud scream, and felt a pony bounce off his back and land in the muddy puddle forming around him.

“Oh, dear…”

Alphabittle rubbed the sudsy water from his eyes and looked down at a yellow and pink pegasus mare whose hair and fur were coated in half-rinsed shampoo. She was splayed on her back with only her tail to keep her modest. He quickly averted his eyes.

“Oh, sorry miss... I uh…” Alphabittle looked up trying to figure out where she’d come from. “What happened?”

“I’m going to kill him or hug him and I can’t decide which,” Hitch fumed.

Before he could inquire further Izzy’s door opened, and Discord waved down at the unicorn. “Hello there, don’t mind us. I’m terribly sorry but if I’d known you were in the bath I would have waited…”

Hitch righted himself and stomped right past Discord into the house. “Izzy? Where’s your bathroom?!”

Alphabittle stood there with his mouth agape in confusion until Discord elbowed him in the side. “Mares, am I right? No sense of humor.”

“What are you?” he asked.

“Sorry.” Discord pointed to the bright yellow sign on the door. “Mares only, no stallions allowed!”

“I… but you’re not…” Alphabittle wasn’t certain what was going on, so he just muttered. “Lots of places to hide a body if you hurt Izzy…”

“Oh? Don’t threaten me with a good time.” He smirked and waved him away. “She’s in good cloven hooves, now you best get going. I think someone just flooded your home with cotton candy. Well, all the homes really, I wasn’t sure which was yours…”

He closed the door in Alphabittle’s face before he could reply, and turned around.

“Hi new friend!” Izzy smiled widely and leapt up to hug him.

“Whoa!” Discord grabbed her and set her back on the ground. “Careful, those horns are a lot pointier than I remember.”

“Oh I’m so excited you’re here, what are your hobbies? Do you like creating stuff? I bet you could make all kinds of crazy stuff, I’m a bit of an artist myself you know.” Izzy’s horn lit up as she used her magic to grab one of his hands and drag him off towards her art room.

The two of them passed a bathroom with the door closed and shower running. The next room was full of furniture made from a mish-mash of recycled goods. Izzy had crafted recliners, tables, lamps, and a large object that looked like a flower.

“Hmm, not half bad. I’ve always believed one pony’s trash is another pony’s treasure. I even went into business as a lamp maker for a while, but ended up selling them all to somepony for a swap meet.”

Discord snapped his fingers and a lamp made of broken bits of glass appeared. It looked exactly like him, only wearing a pink tutu and holding a light bulb in one of his hands.

“Whoa, that’s pretty good!” Izzy said. “What else can you make?”

“Well, anything really.” He snapped his fingers, creating a small pink saddlebag with a few balloons on the side. “My magic’s been getting better, so this should be a bag from which you can pull a random item at any time. Or it will clamp down and devour your leg when you reach inside. But seventy percent of the time it should work every time. I trust you can use it responsibly?” Discord asked.

Izzy nodded. “Sure.” She reached inside and pulled out a bowling pin, setting it on a table. Then she reached in and pulled out a large chromed bumper to a trolley like the one she had seen in Maretime bay. “Wow.”

“You really just dove right in, I guess impulse control isn’t your special talent.”

“Nope, it's crafting! Which reminds me, want some tea?” Izzy’s horn lit up, and the flower-shaped table he had noticed earlier unfurled itself into a complete tea set with enough room to seat five.

Discord had a seat and snapped his fingers, filling up the teapot and cups with some freshly brewed tea. “So, Sunny says you’ve got quite a unique world view and I’d have to agree. So what’s your tragic backstory? Parents died to an Ursa Major? Immaculate conception?”

She sipped some of the tea, and added a couple cubes of sugar. “Oh, I don’t know about any of that. My parents had me when they were in their sixties and died of natural causes. I was their miracle baby.”

He nodded. “I did notice a distinct lack of parental figures around here, I suppose it's good most of the carnivorous denizens of Equestria went into hiding when magic died. Having no adults around to tell you not to go adventuring in the Everfree for cutie marks rarely turns out well.”

“We’re a tight knit community with several village elders, and we always help each other out,” Izzy explained. “We don’t have much use for paying rent like I’ve heard the pegasi have to do, and if anypony is hungry we just cook them a meal.”

They both began to float up in the air along with the tea set and table, and the entire house began to rotate around them. Luckily, all the furniture seemed to be fixed to whatever it was touching, and no avalanche resulted.

“Whoa!” Izzy exclaimed. She spent a couple minutes looking around as the house made a full rotation, oblivious to several confused shouts from a pony in her shower.

“So, what’s your special talent?” When she looked back, Discord was wearing a press badge and had a small notepad. “I like to interview all my potential friends. The last thing I need is another Tirek.”

“My talent is the ability to see the beauty in anything, or the beauty it could have. Like, when I look at a pony I can see their luminescence and know right away their mood, and to an extent, whether their intentions are good or evil. Even before magic returned!”

“Fascinating.” He scratched at a small goatee with his pencil. “A connection to the font of magic while magic ceased to exist? That shouldn’t be possible.”

“I mostly use it for crafting though, I can look at an item and see all the things I could make out of it. Like, imagine if you could close your eyes and see an entire painting or sculpture before ever making the first stroke or cut.”

Discord nodded along. “So what do you see when you look at me?”

Izzy tilted her head and stared at him. “Nothing at first, but there’s definitely something there.” She looked at him for a long moment before meeting his gaze. She felt something she hadn’t felt before as she fixated on the small sparkle in his eyes. Izzy felt herself being drawn into those eyes.

“I now pronounce you, Draconequus and Wife,” Twilight said.

Discord knelt down and nuzzled Fluttershy affectionately, and they shared a brief kiss.

Izzy looked around and saw several familiar faces that Sunny had told her about. These were the guardians of friendship, in fabulous dresses more beautiful than Izzy could ever dream of making. They were clopping their hooves softly as the two married.

The vision swirled to a room containing a giant purple dragon, snacking on a small pile of gems. In front of him was a small game board with cardboard figures, and he appeared to be playing a game with Discord.

“Don’t be too hard on them, I’ve found the shorter the lifespan the more they cling to hope of a brighter future,” Spike stated. “If Twilight says it’s important, you should at least hear her out.”

The vision began swirling again into a vast expanse of stars. Two figures were there. One had Discord’s silhouette, and the other looked like a large pony with wings and a horn. The two were talking, but Izzy didn’t understand the language.

The pony approached Izzy and smiled, and she felt a sense of harmony, before there was a bright flash of light.

Izzy came back to her house, which was no longer rotating but had landed back on the ground, right-side up, and knocked down a lot of her artwork.

Discord seemed dazed before answering. “What is it with you ponies? One impossible thing after another,” he grumbled.

“Whoa! What was that?” She asked.

“An old bit of unicorn magic that allows one to gaze into the soul of another being, and view their true self. It’s supposed to be different for everypony, some might hear the song of creation, others might see pivotal memories, or even the future.” Discord leaned down to look at her eye to eye again. “Not even Celestia could see into my soul, I’m curious what you saw.”

Izzy began to explain. “I saw you getting married, and playing games with a giant dragon, and then this vast expanse where you were alone with this glowing golden pony. In all of them I felt so much happiness.”

Discord raised an eyebrow, and opened a hand casting a small projected image into the air. It was a golden alicorn amidst a starfield. “Was this the pony you saw?”

“Yeah!” Izzy nodded. “That was her, who is she?”

He chuckled and looked up towards the roof as if the pony would suddenly appeared, so Izzy followed his gaze. “Harmony. She prefers to work behind the scenes.” Discord looked back at the unicorn. “But it would seem she’s taken a very special interest in you and your friends.”

“Oh, we have an old church in town, unicorns used to be all about harmony before we lost our magic. I could show you if you like.”

Discord nodded. “I’d like that. You and your friends seem to be off to a good start, I’ll have to step up my game with Zipp tomorrow so I don’t lose.”

“Hey, even if you lose it’ll be the most fun you ever had losing right?”

He got up and walked over to the door, opening it up for Izzy and gesturing for her to go first. “It just may be, or I may just snap my fingers and turn you all into dolls in a dollhouse. Let’s not count our pegasi before they’re hatched.”

Izzy walked out the door and looked back inside, tilting her head. “Hey, aren’t we forgetting something?”

Discord smirked and walked out, closing the door. “I don’t think so.”

Fluttershy finally untangled herself from the shower curtains, their mane and tail still a mess from yet another interrupted attempt to bathe. Right when she closed her eyes to enjoy the hot water flowing over her wings, the room had suddenly tilted and she found herself rolling down the wall towards the ceiling.

She threw the bathroom door open and stomped out, trailing water into the living room.

It was empty and it appeared nopony was home. Fluttershy sighed, and went back into the bathroom to dry off. She then looked in the mirror and had to remind herself, again, that she was Hitch, a stallion and an Earth pony.

Once he was dry, he stomped back out in a very manly fashion towards the tea shop. “I really hope Alphabittle serves hard liquor.”

Ch 05 The Aerodynamics of Friendship

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“Discord?” Fluttershy had called.

I could have heard her no matter how far I had traveled in the galaxy. With a snap of my fingers, I was there not an instant later than she had said it.

“Yes, love? Need another back rub or maybe a little chaos to liven up the cottage?” I asked.

“I need you to promise to do something for me.”

“Absolutely anything, you know that, just tell me what it is,” I replied.

“You need to promise to do it, no matter what, and then I will tell you. Please, if you love me…” Fluttershy choked on a sob, and stopped speaking.

I raised an eyebrow in surprise, this was not like her and clearly something had deeply troubled her. I took her hoof in my clawed hand.

“I promise, no matter what it is, I will do it for you, Fluttershy.”

She smiled and gave me an affectionate kiss.

“I miss my friends, my family, and I know they’re waiting for me across the veil.”

I felt a weight like an anvil fall into the pit of my stomach, my throat convulsing and dry as I feared the request I thought she was about to make.

“I’m ready to die. I want you to end your magic upon me, and allow me to pass on to the next life” Fluttershy smiled, and I felt all her warmth and love in that moment.

“I… I can’t… I can’t die, I can’t ever see you again if you cross the veil.”

“Twilight, Flurry and Spike are all that are left besides you. This isn’t natural, Discord. I was never meant to live this long, I treasured our time together… but I have to do this. I have to see them again, to know for certain if they’ve been waiting on the other side. Please… keep your promise, and know that if you ever do find a way to cross the veil of death, I will be waiting for you.”

I had never known such sorrow as I did at that moment. I hugged her tightly, kissed her, and cried my eyes out on her shoulder.

She rubbed my back with a hoof. “I love you. You have the strength to carry on. Please… please protect ponykind and let others know the joy we’ve shared…”

We embraced until I was finally ready to let go. And when I did, her body was an empty vessel.

Zipp was cleaning up the old abandoned zeppelin station on the outskirts of Zephyr Heights. She had cleaned up all the fallen debris, and reframed the laminated posters that used to hang on the wall. The place looked almost as good as it had before it had been abandoned and turned into a museum. The museum was then abandoned when the tribes split.

This had made it the perfect place to study the aerodynamics of flight, and build her large fan airlift system. She had used it to try to learn to fly the hard way, with lots of exercise and practice. It had turned out that magic was more a factor of flying than agility, but at least Zipp had stayed in shape in the process. She’d also solved enough formulas that Zipp was confident she could build a working airship without much trouble.

“So, if you step up here once the fan’s on and spread your wings you should be able to get a feel for flying.” Zipp pressed a lever activating the fan.

Hitch hesitated for a moment, before flapping his wings to fly into the gust of wind, immediately tumbling up towards the ceiling.

“Spread your wings back out!” Zipp shouted.

Hitch did, finding it quickly righted him and he began to glide in place. He found it rather exhilarating, slowly drifting side to side as the fans kept him in a small pocket of steady air. “Whoa, this is awesome!” He wasn’t sure if Zipp could hear him over the roar of the fans.

A couple minutes later, Hitch flapped harder and escaped the air stream, and began to flutter down to the floor. Discord was applauding and eating some popcorn as he watched.

“Bravo! What a marvelous little invention you’ve got here Zipp. Not as good as that one Pipp had, or those televisions you told me about, but good nonetheless.” Discord stated.

“Yeah, I’ll let Pipp explain social media to you.” Zipp shrugged. “I’m more into the hard sciences, parkour, and flight.”

“What a lovely resume. You must be quite the egghead then.”

“Egghead?” Zipp asked.

“You know,” Discord snapped his fingers and took on the image of Twilight Sparkle, slapping a ruler against a chalkboard with several formulas on it. “Brainiac, philosopher, you probably wrote a dissertation on the optimal number of friends for a pony to make. You count books to fall asleep.”

“I don’t know about any of that, except the moral philosophy bit. I was pretty good on the school debate team.”

Hitch finished flying around the room again to land next to Zipp. “I didn’t know you were into that.”

“I’ve never been into it, all that ethics stuff never made much sense to me,” Discord added.

“Well, we’ve got plenty of time today if you’d like me to teach it to you,” Zipp said.

Discord jolted awake, having pretended to fall asleep while she spoke. “Huh? What was that, it sounded boring?”

She smirked. “Oh and I thought you loved games? I guess you don’t want to hear about the trolley problem then…” Zipp shrugged and started to walk away toward the lift out of the room.

About halfway there she heard a frustrated sigh, and a snap, reappearing right in front of Discord. “Ugh, fine. Please tell me what the trolley problem is? And if you start a checklist, the deal’s off!”

Zipp smiled when Discord took her bait. “You may want to sit down Hitch, this is a bit of a long one.” She went over to the nearby chalkboard and flipped it over to the blank side and began drawing.

“So you see, Discord, the trolley problem is a thought experiment to explain concepts like right and wrong. The problem with most ponies into ethics is they dive right into Stallion Kant, or deontology, or all this other boring stuff. So what better way to explain it than a game, of sorts?”

She tapped at the board where she had finished drawing two sets of train tracks, a trolley, and two groups of ponies. “The thought experiment is this. You’re on a trolley, Discord, and it is about to hit six ponies who are repairing the trolley line. You can pull a lever to make the trolley change tracks. If you pull the lever, it will miss the six ponies, but it will hit two ponies who are on the other track.”

“Therefore, if you do nothing, you will not have made a choice to kill the six ponies. However, if you choose to pull the lever, then you have made a choice that directly results in two deaths, but saves six lives. Do you pull the lever?”

Discord rubbed at his chin for a moment. “Can I just snap my fingers and turn all eight into giraffes with long enough legs to avoid the trolley?”

Zipp shook her head. “No, that’s kinda missing the point. It’s about what is right or wrong: is action better than inaction?”

“Well, I am more of an action kind of guy, but I’m not sure I get it. Seems like there’s no winning this game.”

She nodded. “That’s kind of the point, either choice could be justified, and the reasoning behind it is the thought experiment.”

“I guess I’d pull the lever so fewer ponies died,” Hitch said.

“Hmm, what about you Zipp? I think it’d help me understand this problem if you could show me.”

She tilted her head. “Show you? How would I do that?”

Discord grinned and snapped his fingers.

Zipp gasped, realizing she was standing in a trolley flying down the main street of Maretime bay. Hitch was next to her, holding onto the railing of the trolley to keep her footing. Discord was on the other side of Zipp.

“What’s going on?!” Zipp screamed over the noise of the wind and several ponies shouting at the back of the trolley.

“We’re doing the thought experiment!” Discord explained. “Ahead are six ponies, are you going to pull the lever to switch to the track with two ponies?”

Zipp looked around nervously. “Discord, this isn’t a joke! It’s not that easy, and it’s not like I subscribe to a purely utilitarian worldview!”

“Do something Zipp before anypony gets hurt,” Hitch screamed.

There was a loud screeching sound as the trolley hit the six ponies and skidded to a halt. Zipp and Fluttershy were coated in bits of pony, and let out horrified shouts of panic.

“Okay, so, what did we learn?” Discord asked. “Zipp? Talk it out.”

“You… you just killed a bunch of ponies!” Zipp angrily shouted. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Discord shrugged. “It’s just an illusion, I’d never make you hurt real ponies. I’m pretty sure that’s against the rules.”

Zipp took a couple deep breaths to calm down. “Well that’s reassuring… because some of the parts of the fake ponies are in my mouth!”

Hitch asked, “So we’re not really in Maretime bay?” He released his death grip on the safety railing.

Discord snapped his fingers, dispelling the illusion and removing all the fake illusory blood. “We’re still in Zephyr heights.”

He snapped his fingers again and returned them to Maretime bay, but the trolley was parked.

“Okay…” Zipp seemed to have calmed down now. The shock was fading from the last experiment, though she couldn’t quite wrap her head around how Discord had made such a convincing illusion. “They’re fake, it’s just a thought experiment.”

“Well…” Discord sighed. “They’re fake ponies, but their pain is real. Does that make sense? If there’s no stakes then it’s just your silly chalkboard thought experiment.”

“That just makes it worse,” Hitch observed. “Can we please go back to the chalkboard?”

“So, Discord, you understand the moral dilemma now?” Zipp asked.

“No, but one more go ought to help.” Discord snapped his fingers.

The trolley started down the tracks again, getting a squeal of surprise from Hitch. Zipp said something under her breath before deciding it’d be quicker to play along than to argue with the lord of chaos.

“Okay, Zipp, you’ve got this…” She looked at the levers in front of her. “I’m going to pull the lever to switch the tracks and do the least harm possible…”

Zipp pulled the lever, diverting the trolley onto the track with only two ponies.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you.” Discord grinned. “In this scenario the two ponies on the track are two ponies you know.”

She looked up to see Sunny and Pipp standing on the track. They were chatting, and then noticed Zipp. “Hey sis!”

“Pipp? Sunny! Get off the tracks!” Zipp shouted. She waved her hoof to the side, noticing Hitch had closed their eyes.

“I can’t,” Sunny replied. “My roller blades are stuck in the track!”

The pegasus pulled out her phone. “Hold on, I’ve got to livestream this!”

“No!” Zipp yelled, “Get off the tra—”

There was a loud thud, and once again Zipp and Hitch were covered in bits of Discord’s illusion. Zipp got hit in the face with a rollerblade, and caught it before it fell to the ground.

Hitch opened his eyes and gasped in shock.

“I think I get it now!” Discord said. “The right choice is to hurt the fewest ponies possible.”

“The right choice is to resist the urge to punch you in the face to get my favorite Sheriff back,” Zipp muttered, barely resisting the urge to shout.

Discord laughed. “Such loyalty, and yet, such patience for my antics. You’re all right.” He snapped his fingers returning them to Zephyr Heights. “So what do you want to do now?”

Zipp looked up at the clock, it had only been a few hours. She sat down on one of the chairs in the former air travel station, near her chalkboard. A moment later Hitch and Discord found chairs to sit down in. They both took a few minutes to calm down, Discord wisely not interrupting them.

“You’re insane,” Hitch stated. “Absolutely insane.”

“Sanity is boring,” Discord countered, and shrugged.

“Well we’ve got plenty of time to kill. Before you got here I was working on some airship plans, if you want to help build it. Otherwise, maybe you could tell me about them.” Zipp pointed up to the Wonderbolts poster.

“They’re kinda lame.” Discord complained. “Airships are way cooler, and easier to create. I’ll whip you one up real quick.”

He snapped his fingers, causing a large wooden ship with several fans and a large blimp to appear just outside of the room. They all looked at the marvelous vehicle through the missing mosaic window. The blimp promptly caught fire, the hydrogen igniting from some errant bit of Discord’s magic. The entire ship plummeted, crashing into the sheer cliff face of Zephyr Heights into the fog. An explosion rumbled in the distance, and a few more panes of glass fell out of the windows.

Zipp just blinked in disbelief. “You know you could have used a non-flammable gas like helium, right?”

He groaned. “Oh come on. I guess I used up too much of my energy at once for that little trolley ride, I must not be a hundred percent yet.”

“How about no more chaos for the rest of the day? The whole point of building an airship is supposed to be, building it.” Zipp got up and walked through an archway into a larger room, waving a hoof. “Come on, into the launch bay.”

Once everypony was in there, she showed them some blueprints she’d hung on the walls and dozens of crates of supplies.

“We’ve only got one day to spend together,” Discord observed. “Do you really think there’s time for this?”

“I’ll help, plus it’ll let me keep an eye on Discord so he doesn’t mess with me anymore,” Hitch stated.

“Oh yeah,” Zipp said. “We’ve got everything we need, Discord can do the heavy lifting, Hitch you can assemble the smaller parts. They’re all labeled.”

Zipp walked over to a work bench and put on some safety goggles and got out an acetylene blow torch.

“And what are you going to do?” Discord asked.

She smirked. “I’m going to science the shit out of this.”

Ch 06 Pipp Pipp Hooray!

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I consulted Twilight on how she had handled the loss of Celestia and Luna. We did our best to relate to each other. She even told me how proud she was that I had let Fluttershy go. Twilight had known all along what I was doing. We suspected that Fluttershy knew I was prolonging her life, from the very beginning. I wasn’t ready to let go and that was why she had waited as long as she did to ask me to let her pass on.

I can appreciate Twilight not trying to stop me, when she realized I had made Fluttershy stop aging. Perhaps our history together had taught her that I did things in my own way, in my own time. If she’d tried to take Fluttershy from me by force, I’d have zapped her to the land of the Merponies as a school of tasty sardines.

Twilight also knew that magic was getting weaker, and that various threats could take advantage of Equestria in a weakened state. She had contingency plan after contingency plan in place. While she was worried about losing all of ponykind, I had already lost the only pony worth caring about.

She explained that magic was at risk of disappearing completely. I realized something at that moment that I’d not thought about in a while. If magic completely ceased to exist, then so too would Harmony. So too would Chaos. We are beings of magic, after all. This could be my chance to cross the veil and see Fluttershy again. It was a long shot, I doubted I could die, but wouldn’t ceasing to exist be the same as dying?

I tried to explain this to Twilight. Without magic there may not be harmony, but there’d be no chaos, and no way for the various villains to return and threaten Equestria. There would be only ponies, left to their own devices, and ponykind was not a violent or evil race. Life would continue without Twilight or myself, if only she would let go.

She didn’t agree with me. The magic of friendship was sort of her deal. She would do anything and go to any length to preserve it, and deny me the chance at blissful oblivion to erase my pain. And so I callously rejected her offer to entrust some magical macguffins to a new generation of ponies. Had it ended there, Equestria likely would have been fine. Twilight still had Spike and Flurry to help her prepare for the worst.

But in my grief it wasn’t enough to refuse to help.

After that meeting, I went out and sought to bring about the end of friendship, and magic, for good. The planet was already a house of cards ready to be knocked over by the next gust of wind. All I did was blow.

I’m the one who ended the magic of friendship to hide from the pain of my loss.

I’m certain life carried on with some semblance of normalcy, but I quickly began fading away once magic had been cut off. Before my slumber began I heard Twilight calling to me, not in anger, but in disappointment and sorrow. I was gone before I could reply.

The last thing I had expected was for one of Twilight’s silly contingency plans to work. And now, who knows how long afterward, I am awake again. Alone in a new world. My pain dulled but not gone. And five little ponies desperately trying to prove to me that friendship isn’t dead.

Pipp heard a knock at her door and quickly checked her appearance in her vanity mirror to make sure she looked presentable for Discord. She would be the final pony to try to make a good impression on Discord, before he decided whether or not to turn Hitch back to normal.

Worst case scenario, Pipp was certain this ‘Fluttershy’ had the body of a model and the voice of a singer, so she could probably get Hitch work as a social media influencer. She really hoped it didn’t come to that, however.

There was another knock, and Pipp hurried over to open the door, finding nopony standing behind it.

“Oh, finally I get to see what this thing does. Pone: Pegasi Legends, Poones TD, Unicorn Impact, Earth Pony Crush…”

Pipp turned to find Discord sitting in her bed under a pillow fort. As she got closer, she noticed the pillows were similar to ponies, but their skin was jet black and they had holes in their legs. In the tent, Discord was cuddling a larger creature with a wicked looking horn, and a very fluffy pink pony. It was so fluffy she couldn’t tell which race it was.

“Careful with that! It’s an iPone 13 and it’s very expensive,” Pipp said. She crawled on the bed and started making her way into the fort.

“I’ll be on my best behavior.”

Pipp smiled. “I’m sure you will, but where’s Hitch? I thought we’d be tagging along.

“Oh, I assure you she’s fine. She is downstairs with Zipp.”

“What are they up to? I haven’t seen any of you or my sister since yesterday.”

Discord smirked. “Oh, it involved plenty of lubricant, chains, and synthetic leather. I dare say they’re working up quite a sweat right about now.”

“Uh…” Pipp blushed. “What?”

He snapped the fingers on his paw, creating a small image of the launch bay. Zipp was attaching rivets to a support, and Hitch was laying on the ground covered in engine grease.

“Oh thank goodness,” Pipp sighed. “For a second there it sounded a bit like you were describing pony fans.”

“P, o, n, y…” Discord typed away into the phone. “Oh Celestia! I think you’ve just stolen my innocence, and I’ve been around for a few hundred thousand years.”

Pipp snatched her phone out of his hand, tapping a few buttons to clear her search history. “Discord! How do you even know how to use one of these?”

“What?” He shrugged. “I find the iPone to be very intuitive and easy to use, it’s so streamlined! But I would love for you to teach me a bit more about the internet.”

“Oh, I was hoping you might ask.”

Pipp gave him a brief rundown of the major social media websites and how the internet worked.

“Alright. So Pegasi invented a series of tubes that became the first computer, but the internet is a highway, and it was made in somepony’s garage back when nerds couldn’t get laid, which then caused a sudden explosion in technology. And in only forty years? That is impressive.”

“Yeah, that about sums it up,” Pipp replied. “And now anypony with a special talent can reach out to their fans. Like this song I recently released.”

Pipp turned the phone sideways as music began to play.

Everybody needs somebody, I’m somebody too…

If you ever need somebody, I’ll be there for you…

Discord listened to Pipp’s latest hit single until it had finished. “Really? A song on friendship, it’s a bit on the nose, but on-theme for ponies.”

She nodded. “Yeah, after you appeared I put this together with my producer, and released it. I put a lot of thought into the perfect way to show you that I’ll be there for you, no matter what.”

He nodded. “That’s actually quite thoughtful, and here I thought you’d be the shallow one… no offense, you’re just awfully young to be hitting on a deity old enough to be your grandpa.”

Pipp squeaked. “I … what? That’s not what this is!”

Laughter filled the pillow fort, and Discord scrolled down below the video. “Oh, hey what’s this? Comments?”

She got a little closer and laid on the fluffy pink pony so that she could read the comments with Discord. “Yeah, everypony can upvote, downvote, or leave smiley faces to convey complex opinions like ‘wow you’re the best pony ever!’”

“And this number?” Discord tapped a finger on the screen. “You’ve had thousands of ponies vote?”

“Yeah, with the internet you can be connected to thousands of ponies at once, more once we spread out cellular networks across Equestria to the other races and distant villages.”

“Oh, and this one?” Discord brought up a comment and read it out loud. “You’re a no talent hack that looks like a cheap carnival prize.”

Pipp frowned. “Yeah, uh that’s a troll. It’s best to ignore those.”

“Lot of those down arrows, I mean did he even put any effort into it? And what about this one?” Discord raised an eyebrow. “I don’t think I can even read this out loud, and I once gave all of Canterlot tourettes for a month because they forgot to invite me to the gala.”

He began typing away at the keyboard.

She grabbed the phone, “Wait no! You can’t feed them, that’s the worst thing to do when ponies troll you!”

Discord smirked. “Feed them? Don’t be silly, my little pony… they’re going to feed me.”

He snapped his fingers and vanished, along with the pillow fort. Pipp looked around in confusion before noticing a tiny draconequus on the screen of her phone, scratching out a message to reply to the rude commentor.

I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what you want, but what I do know is I’ve got a very special set of skills… skills that will allow me to turn you and everyone you love into fleas on a Griffon’s arse!

“No, Discord!” Pipp tapped the phone angrily, trying to swipe left on him.

“Don’t worry! I’ll be back!”

Discord slithered off the screen. Pipp flicked a hoof to scroll down after him, catching the end of his tail slithering into a hyperlink.

“Oh no, this is bad…” Pipp minimized the app and hit the speed dial button to call up the only pony she assumed could help.

Moments later, the call connected and a calm voice answered on the other end. “Zephyrburg, how can I help you?”

“We’ve got a problem! I think I just released an angry chaos god into the servers!”

Hitch wiped his face off with a clean rag, noticing that he’d gotten more oil in his hair, and the pink strands were getting a bit knotted up from all the dirt. The fur on the back of his neck began to stand on end.

“Are you doing okay over there, Sheriff?” Zipp asked. She was busy with a complicated ballast system to help control the airship’s altitude, but stopped to check on her friend.

“Yeah, I just felt something, it must be this magic Discord used on me or something,” Hitch explained.

She put down her tools and trotted over. “Oh, what’d you feel?”

“It was as if a thousand voices screamed out in agony and were silenced at once…”

Pipp and Zephyrburg stood in the main data center of Ponybook and watched several large televisions showing the status of the website. On another set of screens were hundreds of comments appearing all at once.

Discord says: Hey xXx_hugecockadooledo69_xXx, your village called, it’s missing its idiot.

“He appears to be trolling over nine thousand users simultaneously. This could affect our fourth quarter profits, do something!” Zephyrburg shouted.

Next to him a mare with a cutie mark of a monkey drinking coffee was typing into a keyboard as fast as they could. “I’m trying, but he’s trolling from inside the firewall! I can’t keep up!”

Another pony, this stallion wearing glasses, came up next to her. “I’ll help you, A B!”

The two of them were furiously typing into the same keyboard, as lots of really cool looking things happened on the single monitor. Pipp couldn’t really keep up with it.

“Hack faster, or the holiday party is canceled!” Zephyrburg threatened.

“There has to be something we can do, try bypassing the router switches and reset the solid state drives to an anti-clockwise spin pattern!”

“I can’t, he’s already bit the bytes and shifted to a trinary system!”

The monitor went dark a second later, and Pipp held out a plug in her hoof.

Zephyrburg facehoofed. “You just unplugged the monitor but he’s already in the mainframe…”

“Oh.” Pipp sighed. “I don’t suppose you’ve got like, a light switch no one is supposed to touch that you duct taped over, that would turn off power to the entire server room if some idiot intern flipped it?”

Zephyrburg began beaming. “Yes! That’s it! Release the intern!”

“It’s too late sir!” the code monkey replied. “He’s followed an outgoing hyperlink.”

“To where?” the CEO demanded.

The two ponies gulped and looked at each other.

“Well, spit it out already!”

Pipp went over to look at the display everypony was gathering around and felt her stomach drop

“Oh no, Discord’s on ponychan!” Pipp shouted.

Pipp walked out of Ponybook headquarters and started back towards the palace to warn her mom, the Queen, about what had happened.

On her way there she saw the strangest thing. Hundreds of ponies had turned gray and were moping around like they were still in a high school emo phase. As soon as the ponies found and touched some grass, they reverted to normal.

By the time she had flown to the castle and headed to the royal quarters to look for her mother, she heard a loud groaning coming from her bedroom. Pipp walked inside and found Discord laying on her bed again, only now his stomach had swollen up as if he’d eaten an entire flying elephant whole.

“Discord! You had me so worried, and I think you broke the internet. Are you okay?” Pipp asked.

He nodded, letting out a burp that formed a large yellow cloud that started raining buttered popcorn all over the room. “Yeah… I haven’t dined that well since before Sunbutt and Moonbutt ended my reign of chaos.”


“Not important,” Discord replied. “But I’m back at full strength, thanks to you.”

Pipp jumped up onto the bed, making him groan again. He seemed to be too full to move at all, and was bothered by any motion. “And did you hurt any ponies?”

“Physically? No.” He burped again, creating a green jet of fire that dumped several scrolls of parchment onto the floor. They quickly skittered out of the room emitting a loud screaming noise. “Emotionally though? Well, I think the trolls will all be back to normal once they get a little sunshine.”

She sighed in relief. “That’s good news. I don’t think mom would have forgiven me if I broke the internet for a second time.”

“Now, why don’t we watch a movie or something? I dare say I won’t be moving from this spot until I’ve finished digesting all that excellent chaos,” Discord explained. “And I’m sure whatever Zipp and Hitch are up to involves a lot of physical exertion.”

Hitch and Zipp had cleaned up after working on the airship for the better part of two days. Now they sat on some beanbags in the back of the launch bay, giggling like school fillies trading gossip.

“I don’t know how I let you talk me into this,” Zipp said.

“Me? If Sunny found out about this I’d never hear the end of it.” Hitch smiled, his blush turning his cheeks a cute shade of orange.

Zipp smirked and glanced at him out of the side of her eyes. “Night’s not over yet.” There was a flash of light as Zipp’s phone camera went off.

Hitch gasped, looking around until he spotted his saddlebag and pulled his own phone out to snap a picture of Zipp. “Mutually assured destruction.”

She nodded. “Fair enough, Sheriff. Now hold still while I finish brading your mane.”

Hitch held still as requested, and continued slipping some beads into Zipp’s mane as she braided them in.

Ch 07 A Hero's Call

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I suppose I have a lot to be grateful for. There were a lot of things I ran from and was afraid to face. And then, when I truly experienced grief, I did what I always had. I ran. I joked, and took nothing seriously.

But in the end, five new friends have convinced me that there is a better way.

I am still in pain that I may never even be capable of dying and re-uniting with Fluttershy. But I know she was right, and that I am strong enough to face life without her. I can also make new friends, to help me when I am feeling lonely from day to day.

But most importantly, I understand her last wish now. To spread to other ponies the joy that her and I felt. If I had not felt this deep loss, perhaps I would not have understood joy.

For me, happiness was always causing chaos. It strengthens me, it is my nature. All this harmony is the antithesis of my being.

And yet, I am not a slave to chaos. I can choose not to harm a pony, or even to cause a change that benefits them. In so doing, by spreading my power out in small pieces, perhaps I can ease the loss of Sunny’s father, or help Izzy spread her unique world view to others.

I can help Zipp rebuild the Wonderbolts and be true to herself, or help Pipp when she focuses too heavily on seeking the validation of her fans.

I can also help Hitch. I don’t think I’ll be helping impose law and order, that’d just be silly, but perhaps I can keep the larger threats at bay.

After all, Tirek, Chrysalis, and Cozy could still be out there somewhere. Perhaps even the Windigos, or the old ones.

From now on, the planet of Equus, and Equestria especially, are under my protection. The next time ponies cross the veil, they will tell Fluttershy stories of the protector who watches over all of ponykind.

I like to think Fluttershy would be proud, perhaps even Twilight, Celestia, Luna, Pinkie… well, it’s a long list of friends I had back then. I didn’t appreciate them at the time, focusing all my affections on just one pony, but they stood by me even when I betrayed their trust.

So to honor every pony I have lost, and every pony still living that has suffered loss, I will protect them to the best of my abilities. I will ensure they can find joy, happiness, and a little chaos to spice up their lives.

And by the time I finally find a way to cross the veil and be with her again, Fluttershy will have no doubt how great my love for her is. Every pony who crosses the veil will tell her stories of this new world I am helping these ponies build.

I kept my promise and honored her memory.

Every pony had gathered with Discord on Zipp’s brand new airship, which had been dubbed the “Spitfire”. Discord assured them it was the name of the most famous wonderbolt he could stand being around.

Sunny was currently occupied chasing Izzy around, ensuring that the curious unicorn didn’t accidentally tumble over a guard rail while inspecting every inch of the ingenious design.

Zipp was busy teaching Pipp how to operate the airship from the helm.

And Hitch was taking a flight around the airship, enjoying their wings for what might be the last time.

After the novelty had worn off, they all began to gather around Discord, who was busy punching numbers into a small calculator that was constantly printing out a thin roll of paper.

“I’ve gotta hand it to you Zipp, this was really clever! I’ve never seen your sparkle glow as brightly as it is now,” Izzy stated.

“Yes, it really does combine the pampering of a cruise ship with the speed of…” Discord paused to think. “Some slightly faster ship?”

“This is just my first version, I’m sure once I can work out the kinks in one of those combustion engines the trolleys in Maretime bay use, I could create a suitable jet of compressed air for propulsion,” Zipp stated.

“That’s all well and good, but I’d sort of like to hear what Discord’s decided,” Hitch said. “If I’m a mare much longer I may have to learn about feminine hygiene and that is not a conversation I’m ready to have.”

Discord hit the enter button on the calculator and it burst into flames. “Well then, I guess it’s time to let you all know my decision. I’ve decided…”

A drumroll filled the air, and everypony looked to see Izzy tapping her horn against the wooden beam connecting the ship to the helium-filled blimp. Everypony gasped, and Izzy realized she’d started to saw her way through it. “Oops!”

“No problem.” Discord snapped his fingers repairing it. “Anyway, I’ve decided that you ponies win. I’ll turn Fluttershy back into Hitch.”

Everpony cheered and gave Hitch a hug. “Thanks, Discord.”

There was a snap and a flash of light and the yellow stallion returned to his normal body.

“It’s good to have you back,” Sunny said.

“Yeah!” they all added.

“Thanks,” Hitch muttered. “But I’m not sure I’m ready to forgive him yet for spending five days as a mare.”

“I could make you forgive me,” Discord said as he raised a hand.

“Discord! Trolley problem,” Zipp said, rolling her eyes.

“Oh, right, that pesky morality you were trying to teach me. Well, I’m sure I can find some way to make it up to such a ruggedly handsome eligible stallion.” He snapped his fingers and a couple mares in cheerleader outfits appeared.

Hitch blushed as he looked back and forth at them. “I, uh, let’s call it even for now before things get weird again.”

Discord shrugged and made the two illusions vanish.

“So what will you do now, Discord?” Sunny asked.

“Well, I’ve given it some thought and I guess all that’s left to do is stick around and help ponies out. I had forgotten about a promise I made in my grief, and I’ll need a little help to avoid my more chaotic tendencies, but I once promised Fluttershy to look out for Equestria.”

He snapped his fingers and they all appeared in his arms for a big bear hug. “I think with the five of you I might just be able to stay on the straight and narrow this time, and if not, well, you’ll die eventually and I can go back to my reign of terror!”

“Oh!” Izzy shouted. “I love that game!”

“Discord!” Sunny complained

“I was kidding.” Discord shrugged. “I know I can’t die, but maybe in time the ponies that do will cross the veil, and Fluttershy and the others will hear of all the good I’m doing in Equestria on their behalf. Who knows, Twilight might even forgive me someday.”

“Forgive you for what?” Zipp asked.

“Oh, nothing specific, you know… just stuff. Not like, causing the apocalypse or anything!” Discord chuckled nervously, letting all the ponies go from his hug.

“It’s kinda messed up though,” Hitch commented. “Twilight spent her whole life trying to spread friendship just for it to vanish overnight and undo all she accomplished.”

“Sure, if you look at it like that,” Sunny replied. “But whatever happened to friendship, she probably oversaw one of the greatest periods of peace in Equestria. Millions of ponies would have been born, lived, and died happily and protected from any threats.”

Discord nodded. “It’s true, for nearly a thousand years Equestria was in a golden age. Despite what happened after friendship ended and my slumber began, Twilight and her friends still accomplished more than almost anypony who ever lived. Plus, I doubt you would have invented all this cool technology if you’d still had magic to solve all your problems.”

“I’d really love for you to tell me more about all the adventures that happened in the past sometime. Maybe we could open a museum,” Sunny speculated. “Help ponies remember all that was forgotten.”

“Deal, but that sounds like a dreadfully boring way to end things… How about for now, we point this thing north and I’ll use my magic to speed it up a bit.” He used his magic to create a captain’s uniform, placing all the other ponies into seamare’s outfits. Hitch was less amused by the outfit than Zipp, who was giving him that look she’d been using a lot the two days they spent together.

“We can explore all of Equestria and see if any other races survived.” Discord added. “I missed out on a lot, but it seems odd they’d all just vanish, the griffons didn’t even like friendship and did fine for hundreds of years.”

“Rediscovering the other races? That sounds good to me, Dad always claimed ponies weren’t alone in the world but we couldn’t prove it,” Sunny stated.

“We’ll need supplies,” Zipp said.

Discord snapped his fingers and the ship sank a few feet, as crates of supplies filled the hold.

“We could discover new fans,” Pipp added.

“There’s gonna be a ton of paperwork, and I had to leave Sprout in charge, so I’m in no hurry to get back and see what he did this time,” Hitch replied.

“I’ve never been on an air pirate adventure before, this is gonna be awesome!” Izzy shouted.